Day 7 – Visit to Sado Island
It was time for island exploration and sightseeing today. Danial and Yuhen were accompanied by the Yuhua Albirex Football Academy (YAFA) volunteers to Sado Island. Sado Island, once famed for its gold mine, is the sixth largest island in Japan. The journey there was via a cruise named Tokiwa Maru. Everybody had the privilege to visit the cruise cockpit and the captain gave an introduction on the specifications of the vessel. Danial and Yuhen also had the opportunity to feed sea gulls. Holding a prawn cracker in one hand, they patiently awaited as the sea gulls flew over to eat.
The first activity on Sado Island for everybody was a ride on a Tarai Bune. The Tara Bune is also known as a tub boat and is mainly used to fish turban shell and seaweed. A boatlady will maneuver the boat and midway through the ride, everybody will be given an opportunity to have a go at steering the boat. What seemed like an easy task actually required proper technique and most people could only get the boats to go in circles instead of moving forward.
The next stop was a visit to the Sado Gold Mine. Along the way, everybody stopped to take photos of a rock called Jinmen-iwa. The name which means a rock that resembles a face is literally what the rock looked like.
The Sado Gold Mine was discovered in 1601 and continued operations of gold mining until 1989. Everybody had the chance to visit the Sodayu Tunnel of the gold mine. This tunnel was the main place where mining activities were carried out and was declared a national monument in Japan on 24 May 1994. Inside the tunnel, there were many exhibits on display. They include showing how the gold mining operation was conducted, what the miners did to ensure that there was ventilation deep underground, as well as the living conditions and rest station of the miners. Most of the miners (people not registered to a city in Japan) were actually captured and sent to work at the gold mine by the Tokugawa government when there was a manpower shortage.
When the tour of Sado Island ended, Danial said, “Sado Island was bigger than I thought and there was beautiful scenery everywhere. I enjoyed looking out of the tour bus and see the rice fields and blue sea. Visiting the gold mine tunnel was an eye-opening experience and it made me realise that the miners had to really suffer in harsh conditions at work.” Yuhen mentioned, “Sado Island is beautiful to look at even from the ferry. I enjoyed myself in the ride on a Tara Bune especially. Luckily there is someone to help steer the boat as I had difficulty doing it. The visit to the gold mine was outstanding and I did not expect to get the chance to walk through a long tunnel and see so many exhibits on the gold mining operation.”